Remain calm through thick and thin. Though your temper may flare, calm its flame. Though your ire may ignite, calm it. Though your disgust may rise, calm it. Though your fear may stir, calm it. Though your sadness may emerge, calm it. Though your hatred may erupt, calm it. Even as your joy blossoms and your happiness bursts forth let them come in calm waves, everything in like manner so that calmness may reign within and without. Acknowledge what comes but in calmness find balance, integration, meaning, and wholeness, your energy ignited to carry on long and strong, as it should be. For what is the use of a lot of wasted energy? Hone your energy into a calm river and walk beside it in like manner, a calm being, breathing calmly upon the calm earth. As within, so without. In calmness.
All newborn babies turn their heads toward the nipple and make sucking movements. This is an inborn program called the rootingreflex that prepares the baby to procure nourishment in the form of milk from the breast. Jung called these universal inborn mental programs, that orchestrate such necessary adaptation and survival behaviors, archetypes. At nature’s insistence newborns are born with an entitled energy to suckle nurturance from the breast.
Entitlement has its roots in nature itself. The energy that the archetypes are naturally endowed with is the energy of entitlement. When an archetype is activated it is potentiated with powerful energy, the energy of entitlement, that allows it to achieve its fulfillment.
The entitled energy of the hunger instinct fuels our ability to work and accumulate goods, property, and money, allowing us to meet our most primal of needs. This instinct is quite primitive and has its roots in narcissism, with the primary focus given to the satisfaction of the body’s primary survival needs.
As we grow, our narcissistic fixation naturally enlarges to include the family, a unit dedicated to survival as a group. The family carves out its ownership of its living space, not to be transgressed by non-family members without an invitation. The family is poised to accumulate for itself and defend its ownership against the competing needs of others. Thus, there is a legitimate basis for entitlement in human physical existence: survival.
Jung observed that archetypes also give rise to spiritual values in humans. This spirit instinct in human beings often comes to life as a result of sacrifice. The initiation rituals of yesteryear that brutally tore the young from their entitled dependence upon family and sent them off to experiences outside of the known and familiar—the world of mother, father, and extended family—are one example of such sacrifice.
Through the archetype of ritual sacrifice, youth became adults and took on greater responsibility for the group beyond family of origin. Vestiges of theses archetypal strivings are seen today in the stylized piercings, tattoos, and drug adventures of young people seeking to cross the bridge to adulthood through some kind of self-initiated ritual sacrifice.
When spiritual values emerge they signal a maturity that takes into consideration the needs of others, beyond the narcissism of me and mine, awakening an energy of compassion that extends to all living beings. This spirit entitlement employs its energy to consider and care for everything beyond the self. Spirit orientation is in opposition to the hoarding attitude of the narcissistic orientation. Spirit employs its personal energy to care for the greater whole and accepts itself as part of that greater whole. Spirit orientation acts to extend entitlement as a broader human right.
Narcissistic orientation bemoans having to give away that which it needs and wants. Spirit, on the other hand, can tend to neglect, negate, or even denigrate the needs of the physical body, its working vehicle for this life.
I would propose that we are presently in an energetic World War between these two instinctual orientations: body instinct and spirit instinct. The current world leader, our own President, exemplifies entitlement at a very primal level. That is, its inherent right to consider only the needs of itself over the needs of the more inclusive world. The degree of support accorded this leader reflects how accurately he taps into the narcissistic underpinnings of survival at the primal, animal, level in all human beings.
What has given rise to our current state of world affairs is a breakdown in the application of the technology of sacrifice to effect spiritual transformation. At one extreme is a failure of the institutions of the modern world to provide effective rites of initiation at key stages of life. Without these rites many people fail to individuate into true adulthood and thus remain fixated at a child’s level of orientation toward the world, entitled and demanding.
At the other extreme is a total renunciation of the body for the benefit of the spirit. One example is the requirement of celibacy in the Catholic priesthood; sacrifice the lower for the sake of the higher. Though this technology of sacrifice was successful in establishing a life oriented toward altruistic concerns, it has created a tremendous body-shadow backlash. Just look at the incidences of sexual abuse among the ranks of the Catholic priests. The entitlement of the repressed sexual instinct has emerged from hiding, deviously preying upon the young and innocent.
In the political arena we see a similar eruption of repressed primal instinct asserting its entitlement to accumulate resources for itself only, casting out the unfamiliar ‘other’ to fend for itself. This is the shadow of American altruism, bursting forth now with a vengeance.
The determination of this entitlement is expressed in its blatant use of lies, misinformation, and manipulation as a necessary and acceptable means to care for its basic needs. No amount of reason or scientific proof can shake it from its deeply seated conviction that it is entitled to care only for its own needs.
At present the lines are firmly drawn between body and spirit, it’s either one way or the other. There is no room for compromise, as each side is absolutely in touch with their inalienable right of entitlement. And they are both right; we are animals and we are spirits. Perhaps the ultimate solution is encoded in the axiom: asabove so below. The needs of the body are as important as the needs of the spirit, the needs of the self are as important as the needs of the planet.
Where might there be adjustments to bring these two into better confluence? As the Pope laments the abuses of his church he might consider the fact that nuns have probably almost never committed sexual abuse, despite their same commitment to celibacy as their priestly male counterparts. If the technology of celibacy is to be maintained, perhaps nuns should be invited into the priesthood to lead the way.
On an individual level, we are invited to truly tune in to the wants and needs of our animal selves, as well as our spirit’s longing for greater wholeness with the universe. For instance, the practice of sacred sex joins body, spirit, and other, in joy, pleasure, and union at a physical/spiritual level.
On a planetary level, the Earth’s body has taken the lead. We are in the beginnings of massive transformation at a planetary level that will force us to be more in step with the true needs of the Earth’s body and atmosphere. For humans this is a spirit/body reconciliation. Respecting the body of the planet is both a spiritual love, moving beyond just the narcissism of self, as well as a deep connection to the physical: self and planet.
The key to reconciliation of our warring instincts is recognizing the legitimacy of entitlement for both body and spirit. Behind the off-putting extremism of today’s headlines are individuals identified with either one orientation or the other.
Can you outwardly appreciate the one-sidedness of your neighbor, but also its legitimacy, in some form? Can you inwardly recognize the one-sidedness of your own orientation and, yes, validate it in some form too? Can you give value and a place to the opposite side, whether it be body or spirit? That is the way to become an integrated, balanced whole being.
In this week’s audio channeling we are encouraged to get in alignment with the greater healing and life fulfilling possibilities for us all, especially on a personal level. Embrace life and it will embrace you. Give it a try this week and see what happens!
And may we all experience a wonderful and fulfilling week!
Guilt is the emotional consequence of knowing, on some level, that we are not the mask we portray ourselves to be in the world. We are guilty because we know we fail to meet the standard of perfection. We are aware of our inferiority and our darkness hidden within.
Actually, this knowing is a saving grace, because despite having to suffer the torture of guilt, we are owning the existence of our dark side. We encounter and suffer inwardly the dilemma that in a less conscious individual is only known through the disowned projection of one’s dark side onto a scapegoat that reflects the hidden darkness within. In projection, guilt is avoided because the real problem is projected “out there.” It can be eliminated and controlled by imprisoning or killing off the bad guy “out there.”
Our time is rife with mass projections of evil onto Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, women, Democrats, Republicans, Jews, Palestinians; the list is endless. The world is currently completely divided into separatist camps that see themselves as morally superior to all others. They completely project their inferior dark side onto some other camp “out there.”
The preponderance of these polarized camps in our time is the surface repercussion of a more deeply brewing clash between the collective unconscious that contains all our darkness with the idealized moral superior values that our egos identify with in our religions and modernistic lifestyles. Would that the collective consciousness of the world could feel guilty, that is, own more fully and grapple with the true depth of its nature versus continually locating it outside where it destroys its neighbor and the world in order to be delivered from its own evil.
Unfortunately, though the world must arrive at this deeper truth to survive now, it is the individual that must lead the world in this task. The individual who faces their own shadow is the advance guard of a transformed world. On the other hand, how fortunate that every individual who faces the true depth of their own shadow advances the world on its path of survival. How empowering!
How do we own our shadow? How do we resolve our guilt? To begin with, as long as we only identify ourselves as light beings, or as beings who must be purified of or relieved of our own darkness, we will always suffer guilt. As Erich Neumann states:
“Just as light cannot be extinguished by the superior power of darkness, so too there is no evidence to show that darkness can ever be abolished by any superior power on the part of light.” *
Light requires the contrast of shadow to be defined; dark requires the contrast of light to be known. One cannot be separated from the other and be whole. The two are inextricably opposite sides of the same wholeness.
Human beings are beings of light in their spirit, as reflected in mental processes and consciousness. Human beings are beings of darkness in the depths of their instinctual, animal natures. Spirit beings could not be in this world without their animal bodies. Animal and spirit are inextricably linked in a partnership in this world, saddled with the challenge of developing a relationship which acknowledges and finds life for both animal and spirit.
If we identify with an ethic that says passion and pleasure are evil, we will suffer guilt. Our wounded animal self will torture, ad nauseum, our morally superior controlling ego with depression and “bad” fantasy. We must abandon this old ethic. Our new ethic must grant the human animal its basic human right: The right to pursue happiness. With this gesture, our spirit consciousness acknowledges its animal partner, though the challenge of true integration and reconciliation with the fullness of who we are is indeed the greatest human challenge.
Guilt can be relieved when we accept that the animal hungers, lusts, and rages. The fact that the animal has these experiences does not make it bad; it simply makes it a human animal.
Of course, it is equally appropriate for its spirit counterpart to require of the animal a bit of refinement and restraint. Once the animal energies can find satisfaction and expression, with conscious consent and collaboration that allows for a fuller expression of all that we are, we advance.
What ultimately will relieve us of our guilt, is to embrace a new human ethic: Integrated wholeness versus perfection based on suppression or repression of the animal—that which has led us to our current status: a crumbling civilization with its discontents!
May we all herald in this new ethic, beyond guilt, as brave pioneers taking full responsibility for our individual wholeness in our interdependent one world.
Going beyond, Chuck
* Reference: Erich Neumann, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, p. 46.
Note: I am grateful to Erich Neumann and his book, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, which has inspired much of this blog.
We live in a world of polarities. We come into life; we die. You can’t have one without the other; they are opposite sides of the same coin. To obtain the full value of that two-sided coin we must integrate both of its sides, positive and negative. By merging this seeming opposition into its true wholeness we allow fulfillment in this life and at death, as we seek to continue resolved of this life.
If we consider being positive as seeing the good qualities, the brighter side of life, we can see how a positive attitude invites openness, joining and expansion in our life decisions. Conversely, if we see being negative as a focus on the bad qualities of someone or something, we can see how a negative attitude helps us to create sharp boundaries and separateness, conservatively generating protection from the potential ill-effects of contact beyond the self.
In effect, positive moves us toward greater union, negative maintains protective boundaries. From this perspective we can appreciate both positive and negative as necessary attitudes to regulate and navigate life.
If I am to remain open to new life, be it through a relationship, experience or opportunity, I must be able to see the potential good in all of these situations. On the other hand, if I am to properly protect myself I must be open to seeing the predatory and dangerous potential in all encounters with living beings and life’s offerings.
Successful navigation of life necessitates the ability to integrate both negative and positive perspectives. We are all bipolar beings who must find the right balance of positive and negative perspectives. Bipolar disorder is actually a failure to find a constructive integration of these bipolar attitudes.
In extreme cases we see a lack of corrective balance between poles where an individual clings too rigidly to one pole or another. For example, an extreme attachment to the positive pole can lead to such expansiveness that one gives up sleeping, hits the casinos and exhausts a life’s savings on a whim, seeing no need for limitation.
At the other extreme, over-attachment to the negative pole can lead to such a deep sense of futility in engaging in life that one might sink into a suicidal depression. In actuality, bipolar disorder leads to powerful mood swings. Eventually, the clinging to one pole exhausts into the opposite side, be it from negative to positive or visa-versa.
We live in a time where negativity and cynicism dominate. On one level this is an honest reaction to the expansive one-sided attitude of wealth and capital that sees no need for limitation, sharing, or protection of the environment.
However, when negativity is overly dominant it tends to generate a feeling of powerlessness, with little energy left to make any effort toward positive change. While we need to respect the truths that the negative perspective reveals, we must also be mindful of becoming too polarized to this extreme, which can lead to inertia and indifference.
On the other hand, sometimes depression is necessary, as life as it has been lived must be halted while we go inward to find the seeds of new positive life. Seedlings require care and attention, as does bringing new parts of the self into life. This is not the time of rapid expansion indicative of a dominantly positive attitude.
Even in the midst of a depression, however, I generally suggest remaining positively negative. That is, to hold onto the positive knowing that even a depression is but a stage in the birth of new life with its eventual return to expansiveness that in due time will recede and acquiesce to even newer life, as we take our ever-evolving journey.